Brooklawn Country Club
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. We are here with 2018 champion Laura Davies. It’s been two years since we’ve had this event, but let’s jump back to 2018. What do you remember about that win?
LAURA DAVIES: Just an unbelievable week. I played probably some of the best golf of my life in any tournament I’ve ever played in, and it just so happened to be in that inaugural U.S. Senior Open and one of the highlights of my career. I never thought I’d be saying that, but it’s true.
THE MODERATOR: Now with this one-year break and we’re back, how does it feel to be back with this group at this championship?
LAURA DAVIES: It’s brilliant. We all missed it last year for sure, but for obvious reasons nothing we can do about it.
But played the course this morning. See a lot of the old faces I haven’t seen, getting on for two years now, and yeah, it’s just nice. It feels comfortable. It feels like going back 30 years when I first got on Tour because it’s the same group of players.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about the course and what it’s going to take to be successful here.
LAURA DAVIES: You’ll have to putt well. You’ll have to keep it — not even short of the pins, pin high, because short you’re coming off the front, long you’ve got no putt, so distance control will be a massive key.
Fairways are generous. Par-5s are reachable, some of them. There’s a couple that are probably lay-ups, but overall just a very fair test, apart from the greens. I don’t know if they’re fair, but they’re there for sure. They’re going to be a huge part this week.
Q. Do you not like the fact that you can’t hit it above the pin? Is that the unfairness of it?
LAURA DAVIES: Oh, no, I’m not saying it’s unfair by any means, but you just know what you’ve got to do. Pin high is your friend. Short and long is definitely not your friend. You can even miss it pin high and still have some easy chips, especially if you miss it to the low side of the green. But that’s what the practice rounds are all about. Very important this week to get to know the course and get to know — not that you’re ever trying to miss a green, but the safe side for some of the tougher pins.
But no, no, don’t get me wrong, the greens are what they are, but we now have to deal with some serious problems around them if you get a bit scrappy with your distance control.
Davies is excited to get back out there
Q. Is there excitement because of the year off and to get back out and be competitive and play the tournaments that you can?
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah, definitely. I’ve played — I don’t know the exact number, but I think this is my 12th tournament in two years because I’ve not been playing the LPGA because I’m fed up with people sticking things up my nose and down my — it’s just all of the COVID testing is just — it puts you off. It really does.
I’ve tended not to play that much. So now having said that, the chance to come and play here — I even withdrew from Evian last week just in case I got COVID or anything and I really wanted to play in this event, so I withdrew from a major, which if you’d have told me that 10 years ago I’d say don’t be ridiculous, but that’s how important this one is to me and all the other players.
THE MODERATOR: One unique part of this event is as women turn 50 we’re seeing new faces. Talk a little bit about that class that’s coming in, Pat, Catriona, Annika and what it means for the future of this championship.
LAURA DAVIES: It’s the lifeblood of this tournament. You have to have the — I was initially keen on the 45-year-olds getting in. I thought that would have been a good mark, but USGA stood firm and that’s fine.
Maybe the first couple of years the field was a little bit weaker from the pro ranks. A lot of the great amateurs still played, but now we’ve got the big guns are coming, Annika — talking the distance control, could be right up her alley this week because that was the mark of her game.
It’s just lovely that the older players, we’ve got the youngsters to go up against now. Poor old JoAnne, she’s 80-odd, so she’s really got some youngsters to go against.
Q. This is a lot of kind of a homecoming for you guys this week. It seems like this is almost a sorority; everybody is friends, everybody is cutting up, having a lot of fun. How exciting is it for you to be back kind of amongst friends and amongst people you care about after such a hard year last year?
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah, it’s absolutely brilliant. Like I said, it’s the girls I used to play with 30 years ago when I was a rookie on the LPGA Tour, so yeah, it’s just really nice. There’s faces I haven’t seen for a very long time. Obviously they’ve probably only just turned 50; might have seen them on a few of the Legends events, but everyone is just having fun because we know we’re lucky, we’re 50 and we’re still playing top tournament golf, and we appreciate that.
Q. How difficult is it to stage a tournament that’s challenging for an Annika, people who are 50, and yet still someone like a JoAnne still has a place in it? How difficult is it to kind of walk that line and stage an event like this?
LAURA DAVIES: I think the distances we’re playing, they’ve done it pretty well. I’ve only played, to be fair, 13 holes because I’m going to play the last six or seven tomorrow as practice.
But the distance is if you hit the fairways — I think if the shorter hitters start missing fairways, they’re going to have some real problems, but if you can hit the fairways, I think distance-wise it’s a very, very fair course. If the longer hitters, the younger players can start hitting the fairways a lot further down, then the scoring might be really good like it was in Chicago.
But you know, you just do your best and hope everyone enjoys their week. Obviously some of the older players, they’re not looking to win it, they’re looking to have a really good week and hopefully make the cut. That’s the way I feel on the LPGA Tour now; if I have a good week I’ve made the cut and have a chance to have a decent finish on Sunday, and that’s maybe the way some of them are feeling this week.
Q. I guess it begs the question will you continue to play when you’re Joanne’s age?
LAURA DAVIES: Oh, absolutely, yeah, I can’t wait. Me and JoAnne, she’ll be 100, I’ll be about 80-odd. It’ll be great, though. I can’t wait for that match.
Interview transcript by asapsports.com